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A Checklist of Asset Values and Documents Required for Equalization

This is a checklist prepared to help you know what values will be needed in the calculations to divide your property and liabilities with your spouse. It is not intended to be a complete list, and is intended to serve as a guide in helping you prepare for meetings with advisors.  I also mention typical documents you will need to collect as evidence of your values – you should expect to be asked for copies of these documents by your financial advisor, your lawyer and/or your partner’s legal counsel.  Remember that these values are all based on the date of separation (or in rare situations, at another date, as would be advised by your lawyer.)  For more explanations of how to value your assets, see my other articles, and in particular, my article titled, “Financial Information for Calculating Net Family Property” and Property Values for Equalization ExplainedWhere can you get help with valuations? See my topic titled Finding Asset Values on my Useful Links page here. The amounts needed will be “re-sale” values at the date of your separation, as well as at the date of your marriage.  For certain items with income tax costs if and when sold, your cost for tax purposes will be needed.  Assistance from appraisers or valuators will likely be needed to establish certain values, but get some guidance first from your financial divorce professional.  For certain properties and debts, additional information, such as beneficiary details, will be required.  Your lawyer, of course, will provide you legal advice and guide you through the divorce process.  A family counsellor can assist you with emotional support and direction in reorganizing your family matters, such as developing a parenting plan for children.  Review my web site or contact your provincial public legal information association (in PEI, the Community Legal Information Association of PEI (www.legalinfopei.ca)) for more information.

 

Property (and typical documents needed)

Family home (appraisal documents unless intent to sell)
Cottage (as above)
Land holdings (as above)
Rental properties or other real estate owned (as above)
Household furniture (for major items, appraisal resale or online list prices of similar used furniture and appliances, unless both parties can agree on values or equal sharing)
Personal jewelry (as above)
Collectibles and antiques (as above)
Automobiles (See my Useful Links for valuation sources)
Recreational vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats, etc. (as above)
Bank balances (account statements showing balance at date of separation)
Tax Free Savings Accounts (as above)
Registered Retirement Savings Plans / Registered Retirement Income Funds (as above)
Locked in Retirement Accounts (LIRA) (created by transfers from an employer pension plan)(documentation as above, but an actuarial valuation may be required if part of the LIRA is related to pre-marriage service)
Registered Education Savings Plans (as above)
Term deposits and savings certificates (including interest earned to date of separation) (as above)
Stock market and investment brokerage account balances (as above)
Employer pension plan details (Most recent statement and employer booklet, if any; employer pension valuation and independent actuary pension valuation – see my article titled “Pension Values for Separation and Divorce“); this includes any supplemental pension plans, Retirement Compensation Arrangements RCAs) or Individual Pension Plans (IPP) often available to high income employees.  If there were any pension buyback purchases made, details should be provided of time purchased and related dates.
Employment benefits such as share purchase plans, Restricted or Performance Stock Units (RSUs/PSUs), stock option plans often provided by large and/or publicly traded companies
Information on monthly annuities or pension entitlements to be or already being received (most recent statements)
Life insurance – policy descriptions, beneficiaries, cash surrender values, premiums etc. (list all details or most recent policy statements)
Savings plans through employment, such as employee savings or profit sharing plans (statements at date of separation)
Entitlements to future retiring allowances from work (e.g. 1 week of pay for each work year) (letter from employer or other documents providing details)
Vacation pay owed at date of separation (as above)
Other balances owed from work when you retire (sick leave, over-time, etc.) (as above)
Details of group insurance plans through work, including health, life and disability insurance (most recent statements and/or employer policy booklet)
Private loans owing from family members or other parties (copy of loan agreement and cancelled cheques, bank drafts, etc. to show payment)
Details of private business ownership (financial statements and any business valuations recently prepared)
Details of farm or fishing businesses and related assets (as above)
Amounts of significant loyalty point programs (e.g. Air Miles, Aeroplan, etc.) (statements if significant) in value)
Values / details of any other property
Debts and Liabilities
Mortgage or home line of credit balances (statements at date of separation showing balances and loan documents showing loan rates and terms)
Credit card balances (statements at date of separation)
Amounts owing to creditors for unpaid bills (copies of bills, and any documents showing date of payment and by whom)
Personal lines of credit (statements at date of separation showing balances and loan documents showing loan rates and terms)
Car loans (statements at date of separation showing balances and loan documents showing loan rates and terms)
Private loans owing to family members or other parties (copy of loan agreement and cancelled cheques, bank drafts, etc. to show payment)
Details of guarantees pledged or loans co-signed by you for other parties (copy of loan agreement and statement of balance owing at date of separation)
Amount / details of any other debts owed  (statements showing balances)
Other 
Details of all of the above property and liabilities as at the date of marriage (Documents needed will be similar to above, but at date of marriage)
Details of amounts received during marriage from inheritances or gifts, damages for injuries and other health issues, and amounts collected from life, accident or sickness insurance policies (Documents needed will be similar to above, but at date of receipt)
Details of any marriage contracts
Other information you believe may be relevant

You should also make a list of any significant property disposals during the last two years to provide to your lawyer.

 

 

Blair Corkum, CPA, CA, R.F.P., CFP, CFDS, CLU, CHS holds his Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Registered Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Divorce Specialist as well as several other financial planning related designations. Blair offers hourly based fee-only personal financial planning, holds no investment or insurance licenses, and receives no commissions or referral fees. This publication should not be construed as legal or investment advice. It is neither a definitive analysis of the law nor a substitute for professional advice which you should obtain before acting on information in this article. Information may change as a result of legislation or regulations issued after this article was written.©Blair Corkum